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Better Know A Supporter’s Group – Barra Brava (D.C. United)

We continue to expand our coverage of American soccer culture with our series “Better Know a Supporters Group,” just like Steven Colbert's “Better Know a District” from “The Colbert Report“. 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
Today it's Barra Brava, supporters of the capital city's DC United.
As told to the Free Beer Movement by BB “elder” Robert Gillespie.
The Basics
SG Name: La Barra Brava

MLS Club: DC United

Stadium: RFK Memorial

Year SG Founded: 1996

Section Name (if other than SG name): Barra

Any other SGs apart of your section? Yes, Screaming Eagles (working on their profile, too!) and La Norte, District Ultras

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Barra is 135-138 at midfield on the East side of the stadium

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

Our group was founded by a man from Bolivia and took the name (Brave Fans) from the Barras of South America.

Favorite chants/songs?

“Fuck you Ref!” Well our favorite songs/chant is “La Barra Brava”, but many others are very popular, including “Olsen’s Army” which the front office has co-opted for their marketing strategy.

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

Well, first off, no one sits. In the Barra sections everyone stands for 90 minutes, singing, chanting and generally creating a winning atmosphere for our Club. Our sections are in the first level right at midfield so in addition to the great atmosphere we also have seats closest to the action with fantastic views of the field.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Our passion and commitment to completely supporting the team for 90 minutes. Our atmosphere has long been the best in MLS, the commissioner moved the MLS Cup to RFK in 2005 because of the atmosphere calling DC, “MLS’ best market”.

Our tailgates are legendary and have been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post and numerous other publications and broadcasts.

Our members develop real relationships with our players. Many former players or injured players visit our tailgates and injured/suspended players often stand in the Barra during matches. Christian Gomez, our former #10, famously played a drum in the Barra all match during an away in Giants Stadium.

Our group and the Screaming Eagles (DC’s other supporters group) were the first to really travel in large numbers not just to close matches but throughout the league.

The people are amazing, it’s a great group who raise large amounts for local charities, donate thousands of hours of community service and create a true family atmosphere in Lot 8 and in RFK

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Well all four MLS Cup wins of course. I think most United fans would say the 2004 Eastern Conference final against NE was the best atmosphere ever at RFK if not in the entire league. Our friendly against Nottingham Forest in 2004 was an incredibly fun atmosphere including an amazing tailgate with Forest fans and founded a relationship that continues to this day.

Predictions for this season?

For DC United: Young, tough scrappy team that should be hard to beat and challenge for a playoff sport. For La Barra Brava: To continue to set the standard other MLS supporters groups aspire to

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

I started following soccer in the 1970s with the NASL and began coming to United matches in 1996. Many of our members, especially our early members, followed soccer from their home countries or were NASL fans. We also have a large number of active and former service members who fell in love with soccer while stationed abroad. Soccer is the greatest sport in the world, the only truly global sport and there is no sport in North America that has the kind of supporter that follows soccer. The large, organized groups and the fanatical relationship to the club organized among 1000s of fans in a supporters group isn’t seen in the NFL, NBA or Baseball.

To learn more about Barra Brava or if you're in the DC area, join the group, visit their website.

Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

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